5 Summer Signings Who Can Turn Chelsea Into Serious Champions League Contenders Next Season

Heading into the final set of Premier League fixtures, Chelsea sit on the brink of their first league title win since José Mourinho lead them to the glory in 2015. Spurs are now within four points of the Blues, however Chelsea arguably have the easier run-in. Regardless of the outcome, Antonio Conte's current Chelsea squad will need some adjustment in the summer transfer window. With a possible title to defend and confirmed Champions League football next season, some strengthening of the ranks...

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

With Diego Costa's days at Chelsea seemingly numbered, Chelsea are in need of a new centre-forward. Since stepping up from Ligue 1's St Etienne to Bundesliga's Borussia Dortmund, Aubameyang has developed into a world-class striker. The Gabonese captain claimed both the African Footballer of the Year Award and the Bundesliga Player of the Year in 2015-2016, scoring 25 goals in 31 league appearance. The prolific striker has bagged even more goals this season, currently sitting on 33 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions.

Aubameyang's style of play could work wonders in Antonio Conte's beloved 3-4-3 formation. Combining lightning pace with technical skills, Aubameyang is a constant threat to the opposition defence. With the likes of Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian in the current Chelsea squad, the striker would be provided with numerous goal-scoring opportunities. Having honed his finishing abilities at Dortmund, Aubameyang would be in his element.

The competition for Aubameyang's signature will be fierce, should he choose to leave the Westfalenstadion this summer. If Conte can lure the deadly marksman to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will have found the perfect replacement for the often volatile Diego Costa.

Leonardo Bonucci

The sturdy Italian possesses qualities that are highly desirable in a centre-back. His strength in the air is formidable, as are his tackling and passing abilities. Bonucci is a defender who treasures the art of defending, hurling himself at every header with unwavering commitment.

With John Terry calling time on his Stamford Bridge career at the end of the season, Chelsea need a new leader in there defence. David Luiz has earned his place in the Chelsea defence after reforming himself into a reliable and disciplined centre-back. However, questions remain over the consistency of Gary Cahill, and whether Kurt Zouma is ready to make the step up to regular first-team football.

Importantly, Antonio Conte has managed Bonucci both for Juventus and Italy. This previous working relationship could well give Chelsea the upper hand, should a bidding war for the Azzurri defender begin. 

Bonucci is a vastly experienced option, and his combative style of defence would add a real edge to the Chelsea back-line. Chelsea will need a full-time captain next season, and Conte has entrusted Bonucci with the armband for Italy when Buffon has been unavailable. Moving to Chelsea to captain the side could be an excellent career move for Bonucci, as he is yet to face the challenge of domestic football beyond Serie A.

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley, now 23 years old, could offer Chelsea a dynamic central midfield option for the next decade. This is admittedly a rather grandiose statement, but if Barkley's growing talents are nurtured he has the potential to be a top quality footballer. Blessed with pace and technical ability, the young midfielder is a tenacious force when playing at his best.

Consistency has been the main criticism levelled at Barkley's play since he became a first-team regular in 2013. With all the physical skills maturing at rapid pace, the mental aspects of his game came second. His decision making, such as playing the final ball, were often lacking. However, under Ronald Koeman the young England star has flourished in the latter stages of the season. With five goals and eight assists in Everton's league campaign, Barkley is beginning to fulfil his great potential.

In the current Chelsea set-up, Barkley could find himself a key role in central midfield. With Cesc Fabregas' first team appearances dwindling under Conte, a vacancy is emerging for a creative midfield player. Barkley could slot in next to Kante, potentially allowing him to have a more free role than at Everton. Kante's relentless defending eases the pressure on the defence, while the wing-backs can drop deeper when required, essentially becoming a back-five. 

Everton are unlikely to let their rising star go without a fight. However, Chelsea are more than financially able to capture the England midfielder. A Lampard-shaped hole remains at Chelsea: Barkley has potential to be the one to fill it.

João Cancelo

After impressing on a loan spell from Benfica, João Cancelo signed for Valencia in 2015. While the Spanish side's form has ranged from mediocre to disastrous, Cancelo has emerged as a high-quality player in an otherwise average team. At the age of 22, Cancelo is starting to work his way into the Portugal side. He's so far scored an impressive three times in his four appearances.

Cancelo is shaping up to be a top quality wing-back. Possessing great speed and dribbling ability, his knack of creating the overlap has proven a fine weapon in his arsenal. Cancelo is also a composed defender, with the ball-skills necessary to pass himself out of danger when required. In February's shock 2-1 win at home to Real Madrid, Cancelo put on a superb display; demonstrating his ability as a fine tackler and a counter-attacking threat.

Should Conte wish to sign Cancelo, he will face stiff competition. Barcelona have been hotly tipped to sign him in the summer, a dream move for any young footballer. However, a move to the Camp Nou would almost certainly mean becoming the understudy to current starting wing-back Sergi Roberto. Should he be up to the standard demanded by Chelsea, Cancelo would certainly be an immediate upgrade from Victor Moses.

Benjamin Mendy

Benjamin Mendy has had an outstanding season for Monaco, both in Ligue 1 and the Champions League. Playing as a left-sided wing back, the Frenchman has come on leaps and bounds since joining from Marseille in the summer transfer window. Crossing the divide between footballing rivals is never easy, but Mendy looked instantly at home in his luxurious new surroundings.

A French international at the age of 22, Mendy is considered a certainty to feature in the side for many years to come. The young defender boasts both blistering pace and a powerful physique, offering a real handful to opposition defenders. In Monaco's recent quarter-final victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, the Frenchman ran them ragged. Part of a Monaco side that has scored an eye-watering 90 league goals this season, Mendy has been a constant thorn in the side of his opponents. 

Despite Marcos Alonso's impressive start to his Chelsea career, Mendy could offer a more dynamic option to Conte. However, given Mendy's age and potential, he is likely to be the subject of much interest in the summer.Furthermore, if Monaco go on to upstage PSG and win Ligue Un, he may see no need to leave the affluent principality for the foggy grey of London.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes